Berwyn Heights, MD Drug Raid Update: Cops Didn't Have a No-Knock Warrant


It now appears that the entire raid on Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo may have been illegal.  Last week, police stormed Calvo's home without knocking, shot and killed his two black labs, and questioned him and his mother-in-law at gunpoint over a delivered package of marijuana that police now concede may have been intended for someone else.

The Washington Post reports that the police didn't even bother to get a no-knock warrant, which means the tactics they used were illegal:

A Prince George's police spokesman said last week that a Sheriff's Office SWAT team and county police narcotics officers were operating under such a [no-knock] warrant when they broke down the door of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo, shooting and killing his black Labrador retrievers.

But a review of the warrant indicates that police neither sought nor received permission from Circuit Court Judge Albert W. Northrup to enter without knocking. Northrup found probable cause to suspect that drugs might be in the house and granted police a standard search warrant.

"There's nothing in the four corners of the warrant saying anything about the Calvos being a threat to law enforcement," said Calvo's attorney, Timothy Maloney. "This was a lawless act by law enforcement."

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has given the police leeway to disregard the knock-and-announce requirement. In June 2006, the Court ruled in Hudson v. Michigan that evidence seized in raids in which police fail to properly observe the knock-and-announce rule isn't subject to the Exclusionary Rule.  Justice Scalia assured us that there's a "new professionalism" taking root in police departments across the country today, rendering the Exclusionary Rule in such cases unnecessary.